Snatch

October 24, 2017:

A job takes Remy LeBeau to Evertech with the intent to steal or sabotage a very dangerous drone prototype. But someone steals it before he can…only for him to realize that the interloper thief has some other mark in mind.

Manhattan - New York City

The city that never sleeps.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Candra, Sebastian Shaw

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

These days, a vast amount of what Remy gets hired to steal is technology. Sure, there's the occasional magic gem or alien battery box, both of which are kind of outside of the realm of par, but a lot of it is just plain old tech. Today, the target is a drone prototype launched by the Evertech corporation. What's special about this drone? It's smaller, sleeker, and more dangerous than others on the market, capable of sneaking up on someone and delivering a deadly injection while vastly minimizing the chance it will be seen. Indeed, the thing isn't much bigger than a praying mantis, though they call it the Recluse instead, after the brown spider by the same name.

The 7 story R&D building which holds the Recluse is locked down tight, and the thing he is after is on the 7th floor. Truthfully, Remy isn't 100% sure whether he's going to steal this thing or sabotage it in a way that makes it unlikely anyone will ever sink money into developing it. He's about 50/50 on that, at the moment. A lot of his jobs aren't going so well now that he's out of his home state, far away from his usual support systems and in a place where he no longer blends. His reputation is starting to suffer, and that's something he prefers not to see happen. Not that it will necessarily end him for that to happen; he can always steal for his own sake, or gamble, but it stings. And if he screws this particular employer he's pretty sure he's going to end up with a Hell of a price on his head.

On the other hand, this is some crazy horrible shit, and he's not sure his conscience is going to abide him actually turning it over to his employer or letting these people keep it.

And he's got only so long to contemplate it as he uses high-power suction gloves and kneepads to scale the glass windows. He's in the shadows, having chosen a section that faces the blank metal side of another building, with a narrow alleyway now stretching out below him. By now he's about to make the shift from sixth floor to seventh, and the precariousness of his position has his heart thundering a little bit. It's thrilling, but at the same time, probably not exactly his favorite among all the risks he's ever taken ever.

—-

Catburglars are a certain breed to be sure, more liable to use agility and dexterity to steal than the cunning wiles necessary to set up a confidence game to achieve the same results. The most experienced heist masters, however, tend to cultivate skills in both - the world has only become more dangerous, after all, and the more one knows, the better of his or her chances will be in a profession that tends to rub parties on both sides of the line the wrong way. They aren't exactly the most trustworthy lot in the world, after all.

As Remy scales the building to the seventh floor, he'd feel it prickle at the back of his neck. It's nothing tangible, nothing that could be seen or heard or even tasted; instincts are what they are, the sixth sense that those who thrive in dangerous situations have learned to hone with razor-sharp precision. He would know, even though he won't understand the particulars at the moment, that there is something wrong and it is happening right now.

All around the building, the lights start to flicker, before they all die completely, plunging his side of the world in absolute darkness. It might be a very opportune blackout and for a man like him, it could only mean one thing - security systems would be down, and he has a very limited window to exploit this very lucky break.

…from his vantage point, however, he would be able to glimpse other lights from adjacent buildings in the vicinity of the darkened building. Whatever has affected it does not seem to have done the same for the rest…or even the others sharing the same block.

Curious.

And when he reaches the windows that lead into the seventh floor of the building, it would be difficult to see within - everything is sheathed in pitch-blackness, though with ambient light emanating from nearby buildings and reflected by the thin film of pollution that blankets the air of New York City, he'd be able to catch the silhouettes of furniture, electronic consoles and various high-tech workbenches within. The Recluse, as he knows, is situated right in the middle, in a bubble of protective fiberglass.

A bubble that is presently being breached by a slender shadow, fingers grasping prototype drone and angling it up, hidden eyes inspecting it carefully.

—-

Merde.

Remy does indeed take the time to exploit the problem. He uses a glass cutter to get into one of the sixth floor windows, then slips up the back stair, not wanting to be vulnerable for a moment longer than he has to be when something unknown is happening. It seems to be a rival, but the rival could be anyone. Military, terrorists, another company, a whole range of problematic and dangerous from the bad to the awful.

Were he a more ruthless man himself, he might have attempted to threaten the slim shadow stealing the Recluse just a few minutes ahead of him. But he's not, in particular. He's not a killer, despite his dueling accident, and in fact that very accident left him more reluctant to do so than ever.

He also has about three seconds to figure out what to do.

He decides, ultimately, to slip into the shadows and watch the slim thief. He can see if this person has back-up that way. He can follow him or her, that way, and perhaps get this thing back at a more opportune time. Maybe he can even con the other thief into thinking he's the buyer.

Oooor…he can maybe destroy the million dollar little item and make sure nobody gets it, and it won't even be his fault, because 'hey, a rival got to it before I did, I dunno where it is now' is a very plausible lie. All it takes is for him to have arrived mere seconds later than he actually did.

With this plan decided upon, he waits.

—-

Whoever she is, she's young.

Slim and of average height, she's dressed in all black - a long sleeved shirt with a hood attached, fingerless gloves, boots and a kit strung up along the flare of her hips. Her face is largely obscured by a pair of high-tech goggles on her face and her hair is tucked underneath the hood that she has kept pulled up. She doesn't seem to be all too concerned about her fingerprints when she inspects the Recluse in her grip.

But at the very least, she doesn't seem to realize that she's being watched, or that Remy has snuck into the same room as her.

"Men and their toys, I swear to god," comes the quiet drawl. At the very least, he wouldn't be alone with the distaste that comes along with the job either, though her scruples are less about the morality of it, and more due to the fact that people are so obsessed with technology these days that they're fighting over things that would inevitably be rendered obsolete in the next year. Exhaling a quiet breath, she slips the drone prototype in the pouch attached to her belt, securing it shut.

She checks her watch, the digital numbers dwindle in a countdown and she wrinkles her nose. She seems to be waiting for something…but what?

Distant bootsteps register - security teams are probably on their way upward to make sure that everything is in order. No doubt Evertech's patrols would be walking around everywhere while they figure out what the hell happened to the company's back up generators.

"Time to go," she murmurs, and with that, she starts moving to the door in a quick clip, in an attempt to climb up the stairs leading to the rooftop.

What's she going to do when she gets there, though? Jump off?!!

—-

Ummmm.

Remy's brilliant plan did not include a rooftop plan.

He swears silently again, deciding he'll just have to follow her, and improvise. He tries to do it with all due stealth; as long as the lights don't come on in the stairwell he figures he'll be fine, but then there's the roof itself.

Whatever, he's committed now. He wastes no time, even trying to slip through before the stairwell door closes, so he won't have to risk opening it again.

Sleight of hand drops a playing card into his gloved fingers. He doesn't charge it just yet, but a precision strike, a single precision strike, might be all the chance he gets. Against her belt pouch. He doesn't charge it for two reasons.

One, it should take very little force to damage that thing beyond repair, and he doesn't want to hurt her. Especially not now that he knows she's a woman. Chauvanistic of him, he knows— his wife is certainly a highly dangerous individual, far more so, in fact, than he, having been trained by the Assassin's Guild for a lifetime. But it's a Thing, and it's ingrained in him. It is what it is.

The second reason is the damn power glows. He's never understood why. Which would be great if he wanted to make a tiny little flashlight to give away his position, but he sure doesn't. And he doesn't want to do it now, in the stairwell, because it's going to make noise.

It's going to make noise on the roof, too, and trying to climb back over and down is even more dangerous than trying to climb up. He resigns himself to the idea that tonight may suck for a number of reasons, while he's at it.

—-

He would be able to follow her easily - when it comes to stealth, Remy is no slouch himself. The young woman seems utterly oblivious to his presence as she clambers up the stairs leading to the rooftop access of Evertech's research and development headquarters. The door opens, moonlight glimmering from the world outside, cutting a bright shaft across the shadows on the stairs and banishing them momentarily away.

The slender figure vanishes at the top, and the door starts to close - he'll have a few seconds' window to slip his fingers through to prevent it from closing further. If he's successful, should he manage to sneak up on the roof…

He'd find the young woman at the very edge of it, unzipping a bigger bag that she had stashed their earlier and pulling out what looks like a javelin gun. Hiking it up against her shoulder, she fires hook and line across the way and towards a shorter, adjacent building across the street. Reaching for her end of the line, she reaches up and secures it against the rails. He would recognize the configuration - it's a zipline, and she fully intends to sail across it and make her getaway on the other side of the street.

Bracing a boot on the metal frame, she clamps the cable down, and reaches for another apparatus to clip on it. With that secured, she pauses again, glancing over her shoulder.

Once again, she appears to be waiting for something.

"Jesus, hurry up already," she murmurs, fingers lifting to pull up her infrared goggles, pushing it up to the top of her head. Blue eyes set on a pale face and its faintest dusting of freckles take in the darkness of the rooftop.

Twenty seconds.

—-

She waits, and he keeps the door slightly ajar but charges the card under his coat the moment she's through. Then he slips out; it's still charging a bit as she's setting up her zipline. She's waiting for someone or something, and that works to his advantage.

Thrown weapons are his specialty. He's reasonably confident when he takes his shot. He aims for the pouch, aims it, in fact, to not hit her at all; she's secured and he hopes she's secured enough. The last thing he wants to see, the very last thing, is for this woman to plummet to her death because she miscalculated.

When she turns to look over her shoulder she'll be able to see him, the determined rougish redhead in his black body armor and black duster. The dark purple tint on his breastplate doesn't really hamper him when it comes to the shadows. Normally he's all about the banter, but not this time; he lets fly with the thing and hopes for the best.

That's just going to have to serve as his howdee-do.

—-

When she turns around, like magic, he's suddenly there. The young woman plants her hands on her hips, inclining her head at him and giving him a flat expression; really, the sheer moxie of it, stealing something that he came to steal and then has the sheer audacity to act as if he inconvenienced her. Thieves these days!

"There you are!" she exclaims. "I've been waiting all over for— "

The card goes flying, the edge of it clipping into her pouch. It breaks through leather and the prototype drone's armored plating, frying its circuits, reducing it to a mess of metal and wires within the padding, and rendering it useless. She openly gawks at the hole he made on her gear, before lifting her chin, frowning at him.

"Tell me this isn't how you usually say hi," she tells him.

Somewhere below them, there's an audible shout - the hole Remy had cut into the sixth floor is enough to let it carry. It won't be long until the rooftop is swarming with Evertech security personnel.

"Well, we better get going, unless you're really into getting caught."

Does she just expect him to follow? Yes. Yes she does.

She hooks the triangle hanger on her end of the zipline and with a wink and jaunty salute, hurls herself off the edge of the rooftop. She follows the diagonal slope the cable makes from her higher vantage point, to the lower one - he would recognize the building, a nearby hotel. Certainly not as fancy as the other offerings present in Manhattan, but not everyone's Tony Stark, and it will serve as a temporary landing pad.

Her shadow drops nimbly on the roof, and without pausing or even looking back, she makes her way to that building's rooftop access.

This is a getaway, after all. There's no time for bathroom breaks.

—-

And thus Glitch accomplishes a rarity.

She catches Remy flat-footed. She turns to him like he is the one she's been expecting all along, and how does that even track?

She asks if this is usually how he says hi, and he drawls, "Only if the girl is really cute," in the dryest possible tones.

But he doesn't have to be told twice. He's sprinting to take advantage of her getaway. He is not, as it happens, really into getting caught. Poleaxed, not sure what game he's just found himself engrossed in, but definitely not going to look a gift zipline in the…well, gift ziplines don't have mouths.

He of course didn't bring a triangle hangar; he had a wholly different escape route planned, but he just extends his staff, hooks it over the line, and sweeps across it by holding on tight. He's momentarily concerned she might drop him to his death as he executes this, but in for a penny, in for a pound and all that.

He hits the rooftop without mishap, rolls acrobatically rather than crashing, pulls his staff back to its smallest setting and shoves it back into place on his belt.

Then he's racing after her to the next rooftop access. She is the Mistress of his New Getaway Plan, it seems…

And all his answers about what just happened.

—-

Only if the girl is really cute.

"Aw. You say the sweetest things. I'd swoon, but I'm not into getting caught, either."

Whoever she is, she isn't above giving it as good as she gets it.

Her trail, eventually, leads out of the hotel's rooftop access, following several steps down until it opens up into the lobby. She's managed to remove the telltale signs of her trade from around her hip, slipping it within the front pockets of her hoodie after coiling it up. Her hand lifts, to drag down her hood, red-gold hair spilling free, the rest of the length tucked under her shirt. Her strides do not break when she finds the first floor of the hotel, effortlessly inserting herself with the comings and goings of the crowd within.

Somewhere outside, the blare of the NYPD's sirens can be heard, but this is New York - there is plenty of that going on every day. The hotel's patrons don't even turn to look at what's happening, desensitized by the presence of so much weird shit that occurs in their fair city every day that it often takes something extreme to catch their attention - like superheroes engaging in open battle with supervillains. That often gets a crowd or several.

Glitch reaches out once he's caught up to her, to hook her fingers into his inner elbow - just a young woman walking with her boyfriend on a Tuesday night, and crossing the street. The flashing red and blue lights wash over them as the police cars rush past. They don't even pause.

Mickey's Irish Pub is always crowded even on a weekday night. Pushing through the doors, the blue-eyed redhead meanders towards the only space left available in the crowded space; a booth at the back, with the pub's 'RESERVED' sign placed on it.

She plucks it off the table, tosses it somewhere underneath as she slides into one end. She picks up a menu, looking up at her flummoxed companion with an easy smile.

"Tradename's Glitch," she says, and knowing full well it is the /least/ of his questions. "Gambit, right? Have a seat. What's your poison?"

—-

And he is flummoxed. The expression on his face continues to reflect varying degrees of bemusement, except when he's forced to abandon it to keep up the ruse. She quickly shifts to young beauty out on the town; he just…buttons up his duster, and pushes the headgear part of his armor down and under the collar. He readily takes her arm and smiles, red eyes continuing to ask 'what's going on here?' even as he beams exactly like he's a man in love.

Then it's to the bar.

He's not sure if he's being led into a trap, an opportunity, or some sort of an elaborate joke at this point, but he soon adopts an easy smile of his own. She's already seen him sweat a hair too much for his liking. He settles into his seat, leans back, and says, "I'm a man of simple tastes, me; first poison's just a beer, I reckon. Pleasure to meet you, Glitch."

And then, "Second poison is the memo that I missed." But he says it without any rancor whatsoever.

For one thing, he actually is a little amused at this point; one doesn't do what they do without rolling with the punches. Hell, for his part he does it as much for the adventure of it all as he does for the money, for the chance to match wit and skill against any number of obstacles, and he certainly has gotten fair doses of all that tonight, so he has no complaints. As long as she's not here to follow up this grand escape by slipping something into his drink, he supposes. But the night has definitely unfolded to suck way less than he was momentarily thinking it would, and thus so far he's more or less a happy camper despite his unabashed confusion.

—-

"Beer it is. I'll have…" She squints at the menu. "A Black Nail."

A what?

"I haven't been to New York in a while, or an Irish pub in New York." There's a hint of a grin. "Wherever I go I try the weirdest thing on the drink menu."

A waitress comes by, and she requests both drinks - clearly not the kind of woman who waits for prompts, aggressively going after what she wants with nary a look back. But that is not surprising, her line of work is one that often necessitates having a good idea as to what she wants and the drive to get it no matter what it takes.

Second poison is the memo that I missed.

"Well, poisoning you would be absolutely counterproductive to why we're here, now, isn't it?" she says, linking her fingers together. Inclining her head at him, lashes lower over pale blue eyes, assessing him under the new lights provided by the atmospheric lighting of the bar - lowered from its usual brightness for the dinner hour, the encroaching shadows make his handsome profile all the more prominent. Her smile turns appreciative.

"Could be worse, I suppose," she tells him at last, once their drinks are provided to them in record time. She draws her Black Nail towards her, a potent cocktail made out of Irish spirits that run through different shades of amber. "If it makes you feel any better, I think you are just as cute as they say you are."

They?

Probably others in their august community of ne'erdowells.

"Anyway, rumor has it that you're part of the New Orleans outfit." She speaks in innocuous terms, they are in public after all, but her inference is clear. She is talking about the Guild. "I've had numerous invitations to join up over the last few years, but my answer's always been negative. I don't think many of the higher ups are all too keen at being told no so many times. I mean, you know how it goes with the likes of us…it's really difficult to take no for answer."

She takes a quiet sip of her drink.

"Unfortunately a piece of business fell on my lap that makes talking to one of them necessary. I just landed here a day ago, so I can't leave the city as quickly as I would like, but I thought I'd toss out feelers to see who's around that's a member." After a pause, she inclines her head at him. "You are still a member, right?"

—-

"Aww, sha, you gonna make me blush," Gambit says. He's a bit of a peacock; he hardly minds being admired, and indeed flashes her a bright smile. He enjoys the bon vivant attitude; the sense of adventure that has her ordering the strangest thing on the menu.

But to business; she's talking about things that he's running away from, mostly, and that means he's got to pay some real close attention. She apparently interrupted his heist (well, now his sabotage) just to get a word with him. Well, there are worse ways to make an introduction in their line of work, aren't there?

Before he answers, though, he's got more questions for her. "Wait. Why," he asks, holding up one gloved hand to try to slow her down a little, "would the folks outta New Orleans be recruiting a lady who works up here in the North? It's…more of a family business than that, we— " still, to his mind, we, and he never was officially thrown out, though he's not pressing his luck on that regard, "don't really go scouting. And, no offense, but if we were to go scouting, we generally wouldn't come looking in New York City. Hell, I don't even think we'd go looking any farther than Alexandria." Are you sure it was my old outfit? Who you set to talk to?"

Someone's getting lied to here, and he's not sure if it's him or if it's her. He already likes her, so he kind of hopes it's him. If it's her, she could be in some trouble. Or someone else is using this to look for him. He can't see the pattern yet, hasn't teased out what's going on; he just knows something's off here.

—-

His own appreciative response to her comment has her grinning broadly.

"Yeah. Sorry about the bit of theater, I figured if I just tracked you down, came up to you and said I'm one of you and I need an introduction to one of your commanders, you'd give me the skeptic's eye." There's a lift of her shoulders at that, Glitch taking another pull from her dangerous cocktail. "Because really, would you believe me right off the bat if I didn't demonstrate some practical know-how? Even if you are still skeptical, you'd be more inclined to believe me after what I just put you through. And it's not as if there's a welcome sign out the door."

He asks some good questions; her grin tempers into a slight smile. "Your outfit's got ties to others. You have to know about those, right? There's even a Egyptian chapter, if you can believe it. Rumor has it there's talk of unification and expansion somewhere down the line, considering the other door your outfit's tied to, but…I don't know if that's going to happen in our lifetimes. Anyway….I definitely need to talk to yours."

She leans back, crossing her legs by the knee. Lashes lower over her eyes.

"Candra, specifically."

The Benefactress.

If he is apprehensive about the possibility of treading into dangerous waters, the name that tumbles out would only make that even moreso.

Her easy smile undertakes a quality that is faintly resigned. "I know," she says. "Tall order, right? I don't like it either, but it's gotta get done. The question is whether you're my man or not, Gambit. Not going to lie, my information might be slightly out of date, for all I know, you're out and trying to go legit." Though judging by the pointed look she gives his coat and body armor, she doesn't believe that for a moment.

—-

The bit of theatre produces only a tip of an imaginary hat; it makes perfect sense to him. But on this matter of other branches? He didn't know, as it happens. Jean-Luc LeBeau had been real big on earning your answers, and Remy's life sort of started going south right around the time of his initiation. And it all started going wrong with Candra. For a moment, red eyes close.

Etienne, frightened in the cage.

The Pig, leaning down to have a look inside.

Etienne, aghast and pleased when Remy blinded their captor and got them loose.

Etienne, diving like a swan beside him.

Etienne, hitting the water too hard, too far away from him.

Etienne, slipping beneath the waves and drowning.

The look on Jean-Luc's face, when Remy told him what had transpired. He never was sure if Jean-Luc blamed him or not.

He sure blames himself.

He opens his eyes, and every single trace of jovial amusement is gone. "You know what's good for you, you stay clear of that witch," he says flatly.

This business of other branches also means his flight from Louisiana was almost fruitless; he could be screwed no matter where he roams. But he pushes that thought aside. He has to convince this young woman she wants to back right off this course of action.

His voice is nevertheless a little harsher than he intends when he demands, "What the hell you want with that couillon salope, anyway?"

—-

With the young woman before him, she has done nothing but earn her answers. Countless jobs, no matter who they came from, less for the money or even for the challenge and more for the scraps of information that she desperately needs just for a glimpse of something so fundamental that she has lost. For it, for the sake of it, she will do anything and everything necessary - even if it means consorting with the worst, and there are plenty out there: crimelords, secret society headmasters, or those combined like Sebastian Shaw. Candra may very well be the worst of it that she's come across in a very long time.

But with what's on her lap, what choice does she have?

Glitch says nothing; she simply observes him, the way he closes his eyes. She is notorious for doing very meticulous homework, had her life turned out a different way, perhaps she could have turned her raw talent and acquired skills to good use. Perhaps be a member of law enforcement, chasing after the likes of Gambit and his New Orleans lot instead of trying to establish contact with their ranks and set her bargain on the table. Perhaps she could have even become a detective, or a private investigator - like Humphrey Bogart in all of the noir films that she only recently discovered she loves.

But it is hard to determine whether she does this deliberately, but if she had known about Remy LeBeau's thorny history with the outfit that groomed him, would she have approached him like this in the first place? Wouldn't she be expecting this - a less than enthusiastic response to her proposal?

You know what's good for you, you stay clear of that witch.

"If I ever adhered to everything that's good for me, I wouldn't be in the trade I'm in," she replies.

She's clearly struck a nerve, though she doesn't appear that she knows precisely what she said that has generated such a vehement response. "Like I said, I don't like it either, but if I had any other avenues open to me, I would have taken those first."

What the hell you want with that couillon salope, anyway?

She sighs, draining the rest of her Black Nail. "Would like to satisfy your curiosity," she tells him. "But it's personal. Just a guess, hon, but after those last few seconds, I think you know precisely how that goes."

Searching his face and the surprisingly serious expression directed at her, her smile returns, easy and languid, shoulders lifting upwards.

"Look, don't worry about it," she says. "Knew it'd be too easy expecting the in right away. Figures, right? The one guy with the connections I need is also the one with a grudge." She's not an idiot, given his colorful term for Candra just moments ago. Fishing out a billfold, she tosses a couple of bills on the table, and drops the damaged pouch and the drone within it in front of him.

"It's on me." She flashes him a wink. "Have a good night. No hard feelings, I hope."

With that, unless stopped, she turns to start heading for the door.

—-

"No. No hard feelings," he agrees, softly.

He doesn't stop her.

Some deep impulse suggests maybe he should. Maybe she just doesn't understand the mortal peril she's putting herself in. Then again, maybe she's not. Candra always hated him personally for reasons he did not understand in the slightest; when she'd flung his 15-year-old self against the wall she'd spoken as if they were the oldest and bitterest of enemies. He wouldn't be surprised to learn that she'd put Julien up to the ridiculous duel.

It hits him, then: he hasn't solved his problems by leaving his home. Quite a number of them have just merrily followed him up to this city.

At least fewer people know him here. There are more places to hide, and he's suddenly thinking what he's going to need to do is content himself with what he's earned so far and lay low.

Surely this Glitch won't get herself in too much trouble. He sits there and justifies it in his mind. Not his problem. Not his business. The eternal way of the career criminal.

"Merde," he mutters, drawing her glass over. He sticks his finger into it, swiping up some forgotten droplet, sticks it into his mouth. He wouldn't buy one, but he's suddenly struck by the need to find out what Black Nail tasted like.

Maybe he'll just keep his ear to the ground. Maybe he'll just go on ahead and do that. Always smart anyway, keeping one's ear to the ground. It's not like he has to care about what he hears, or respond to it in some kinda way.

All he gotta do is listen.

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